As Cobalt Prices Rise, Congo Raises Pressure on Western Mining Giants – by Alexandra Wexler and Scott Patterson (Wall Street Journal – February 6, 2018)

Congo’s state-owned miner pushes for re-nationalization of mines; global players in resource-rich nation include Glencore and Randgold

Congo’s state-owned mining firm, Gécamines SA, is pushing to renationalize the Central African nation’s rich natural resources, in a move that could roil some of the world’s largest mining companies and have implications for industries ranging from technology to auto production.

Gécamines Chairman Albert Yuma Mulimbi told The Wall Street Journal that Congo—Africa’s biggest copper and cobalt producer, but also one of the world’s poorest countries, with an annual budget of roughly $5 billion—hadn’t benefited enough from its mining production.

He alleged that companies had manipulated costs and production figures, resulting in lower dividends and royalty payments to the Congolese government.

He said audits being conducted of several foreign firms operating in the country have found possible criminal activity. He declined to name specific companies or details, but said he would reveal more in March when the audits would be complete.

Major Western companies operating in Congo include Glencore PLC, Randgold Resources and Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. Executives from these companies either declined to comment or weren’t immediately available to do so.

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